Australia-Indonesia Institute

Sports Diplomacy Through AFL 9s - Game Day


From the 7th of January to the 6th of April 2018 Via Sport ran its first ‘Sports Diplomacy through AFL NINES’ workshop in Denpasar, Bali, effectively contributing to the Australian Government Sports Diplomacy Strategy 2015-2018.

The Via Sport program delivered more than 144 hours of sports development clinics to over 300 Indonesian high school and primary school students each week from six schools across Bali, while successfully training three Indonesian interns.

The program was funded by the Australia-Indonesia Institute (AII) under the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).  Through the AII’s support Via Sport was able to provide ongoing access to facilities, coaches and equipment.


To showcase the recent skills acquired through the program Via Sport ran an inter-school competition with more than 80 students competing. The competition was a collaboration between Via Sport, the Australian Consulate, Denpasar and the Australia-Indonesia Youth Association (AIYA).

Both boys and girls were involved in the competition who showed great enthusiasm. Before the competition commenced, Via Sport Co-Founders, Rory Brown and Dimas Bala Rena gave a short speech encouraging students to adopt a fair go attitude, before further sharing their experiences on the Australia Indonesia bilateral relationship. Both spoke about their involvement in AIYA and programs like the Australia-Indonesia Youth Exchange Program (AIYEP) – an Australian and Indonesian Government initiative and the Australian Consortium for ‘In-Country’ Indonesian Studies (ACICIS). Both Rory and Dimas acknowledged how involvement in organisations like AIYA, AIYEP and ACICIS are key to better understanding and collaboration between Australian and Indonesian students and young professionals.     

The games officially kicked off at 9:00 am followed by a huge applause. The atmosphere was competitive after several weeks of training - as school reputation was on the line with students eager to show their skills.

Australian Consul, Drew Boekel from the Australian Consulate-General – Denpasar attended the competition noting that AFL had huge potential in Indonesia, while further discussing the Australia Indonesia Bridge school program and the importance of creating grassroots people-to-people links.

Despite everyone giving it their best, after several hours of competing the winners were revealed. For the girls’ division, the unrivalled SMA Taman Pendidikan 45 was the winner. The second and third place went to two separate teams from SMA Negeri 1 Denpasar.


SMA Dwijendra was the winner for the boys' division after a very exciting final against the well-known sports school SMA Negeri 2. SMA Negeri 2 Denpasar, was the runner-up. And third place went to SMA Taman Pendidikan 45.

The day concluded with an awards and trophy ceremony with each division’s best and fairest being announced. While for some the day ended in tears after a narrow defeat, for others in was a day of self-realisation that one day they were going play for Indonesia and represent their country at the AFL International cup in Melbourne.




Three Key Tips For Organising a Great Voluntourism Trip to Bali

Voluntourism – a combination of volunteering and tourism-is an increasingly popular form of international travel that allows travelers to contribute towards sustainable development initiatives while dually exploring a new country and culture. In Bali, there are many organisations that arrange opportunities for students and young professionals to volunteer their time overseas and make an impact in local communities.  

Recently, however, the voluntourism industry has come under scrutiny for their ‘superficial engagement’ with problems faced by developing countries due to ‘voluntourists’ lacking the required skills required to implement systemic change. Additionally, the criticism has been made that such programs are merely photo opportunities for volunteers as opposed to an opportunity to contribute towards alleviating social issues.

Recent criticisms are valid and raise the question of what purpose the voluntourism sector plays in international development initiatives. So, before you sign up to that overseas placement, make sure that you check a few things first.     

What are the credentials of the organisation you are looking at?

 It is important that the organisation you are looking at has local people that are employed within the structure of how it operates. This point is crucial. Without local experience, knowledge and networks, it is very unlikely that an initiative is able to make a systemic and ongoing difference in the communities that it serves. Knowledge transfer from international volunteers to local community members is a two-way process and each side should listen to the other so that initiatives may be delivered with both efficiency and effectiveness.      

 What do you want to achieve?

No one voluntourism experience is the same. Some voluntourists are looking to contribute towards the normal day to day operations of a current program, whereas others may want to look at initiating their own cause on a more long-term basis. Keep in mind, volountourism is a great opportunity to meet like-minded people who are interested in similar areas of work as you may be. When choosing the type of initiative you want to be a part of, be mindful of the type of impact you are looking to make, how long-term that might be, and whether or not the organisation running the project you are participating on could potentially lead to future opportunities in that space. 

 What skills do you have/ Does the organisation provide training?

As skill shortage has been identified as a major problem in legitimizing the activities of the voluntourism sector, it is no surprise that many organisations have increasingly required a more identifiable skillset on behalf of volunteers. Identifying what skills you have is an important part of preparing your application and understanding what initiative best suits you to make a meaningful impact.

That being said, volunteering dually provides an ample opportunity for those interested in international development to up-skill and provide valuable in-country experience. If you are in the early stage of your career or want to become involved in an initiative separate to your skillset, make sure that the organisation you go through provides training so that you can make the most of your experience, and further develop your personalised skillset.